Today I have a review of The Fifth Column by Andrew Gross, available from Minotaur Books/St. Martin’s Press on September 10, 2019.
It feels like yesterday when I reviewed the Button Man. It was a great read!
Andrew Gross is the master of powerful historical thrillers. No one writes them the same way.
It’s 1939, and the world is gearing up for possible war. A Nazi rally in Madison Square Garden brings over twenty thousand Nazi supporters to the area. A group draped in Nazi flags comes into the bar where Charles Mossman is, a man who has recently lost his job and his marriage.
On edge, Charlie takes a swing at one of the supporters and the dominos begin to fall.
In 1941, the US is considering whether to join the war. Charlie’s wife and daughter are living in Yorkville, a German-speaking, sometimes Hitler-sympathizing, suburb of NYC. Charlie is recently out of prison and is trying desperately to put his life back together.
Their across the hall neighbors, Trudy and Willi Bauer, take an interest in Charlie’s daughter, and Charlie begins to suspect they may be spies or something worse. The fear is that they are part of the “fifth column.” Charlie and his family are drawn into something sinister.
So good. So tense. So gripping. Once again, Andrew Gross has delivered a solid thriller with an historical backdrop. I read this quickly because the writing and pacing were both on point. The story is character-driven with three-dimensional lives depicted and all their emotions, while also having a plot that quickens and keeps you entranced.
Overall, The Fifth Column was a quick, satisfying read. I’ve read many books set on other homefronts during WWII, but The Fifth Column brings the war to the US front doorstep with some historical events I was not previously aware of. Masterful and well-done, I can’t wait to see what Andrew Gross brings us next!
I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.
About the Book:
#1 New York Times bestselling author of The One Man Andrew Gross once again delivers a tense, stirring thriller of a family torn apart set against the backdrop of a nation plunged into war.
February, 1939. Europe teeters on the brink of war. In New York City, twenty-two thousand cheering Nazi supporters pack Madison Square Garden for a raucous, hate-filled rally. In a Hell’s Kitchen bar, Charles Mossman is reeling from the loss of his job and the demise of his marriage when a group draped in Nazi flags barges in. Drunk, Charlie takes a swing at one with tragic results and a torrent of unintended consequences follows.
Two years later. America is wrestling with whether to enter the growing war. Charles’s estranged wife and six-year-old daughter, Emma, now live in a quiet brownstone in the German-speaking New York City neighborhood of Yorkville, where support for Hitler is common. Charles, just out of prison, struggles to put his life back together, while across the hall from his family, a kindly Swiss couple, Trudi and Willi Bauer, have taken a liking to Emma. But Charles begins to suspect that they might not be who they say they are.
As the threat of war grows, and fears of a “fifth column”—German spies embedded into everyday life—are everywhere, Charles puts together that the seemingly amiable Bauers may be part of a sinister conspiracy. When Pearl Harbor is attacked and America can no longer sit on the sideline, that conspiracy turns into a deadly threat with Charles the only one who can see it and Emma, an innocent pawn.
Have you read The Fifth Column, or is it on your TBR? Happy Reading! ~ Jennifer THR